Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blueberry Crisp

This is one I can no other credit for other than enjoying it. It is super easy, and so very very good. If you like Cobbler, you will love a Crisp!!!

1 qt blueberry
1 stick of butter
1 c. self rising flour
1c. mil
1 c. sugar
1tsp vanilla

In a baking dish pour cleaned blueberries. Mix together, flour, sugar and vanilla and pour over blueberries. Slice butter and lay pats on top. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. While baking run to the store and get vanilla ice cream, cuz your going to need it!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Quick Thin Crust Pizza

My husband is a genius. I would have never have thought to do this. When Tristan asked for pizza tonight for dinner my husband came up with this. I have to tell you, if you like thin crust pizza this is great, quick, easy and so good it doesn't feel like a cheat. Clearly you can put whatever you want on there, this is just my suggestion. Mighty good though!!

All the quantities are really based on how many “pizzas” you want to do. Each tortilla makes one personal pizza.

Ricotta (about 3 TBS per pizza)
Garlic (depends on taste but about ½ tsp per pizza)
½ tsp olive oil
Goat Cheese (feta would work as a substitute)
Artichoke Heats
Shredded Mozzarella

Mix Ricotta and Garlic and set aside (you might want to consider a dash of salt to the mixture). Heat olive oil in skillet. While oil heating, top tortilla evenly with Ricotta mixutre. Once coated, dot with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and pepperoni. Cover with mozzarella. Cook on medium-high uncovered for 3 minutes, just enough to crisp the tortilla. Then cover and reduce heat to low until cheese melted. Cut and enjoy.
An excellent and tasty alternative is pesto instead of ricotta, and shrimp and feta instead of pepperoni, artichoke hearts, and goat cheese. Give it a try, it will literally take 10 minutes! Great in a pinch meal for the kids too (you might want to change the toppings!)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Imitation… Sincere Flattery?

Yes it is! Okay you guys know I loved the scallops at Delux, so I had to see if I could rip off their idea. It is not the same but pretty close, and so very very good!
1lb large scallops
¼ lb pancetta
2 shallots chopped fine
1 TBS olive oil
1TBS white Truffle oil
Salt and Pepper

To start, you can get truffle oil at Williams Sonoma or Sur la Table. Cut pancetta up into little pieces and place in skillet. After 1 minute throw in shallots. Cook until shallots are soft and set aside. Meanwhile seasons scallops and cook. Be careful not to overcook. Once scallops are done, drizzle some truffle oil on plate and place scallops in oil, drizzle with a little more (be careful a little goes a long way) and top with pancetta/shallot mixture. Enjoy! Nothing beats, an easy and delicious meal!

Friday, July 25, 2008

That’s Amore

Let me start with just a neat little trick I have learned. In the recipe I call for using fish sauce (if you are used to using anchovies or anchovies paste use that). Fish Sauce is typically used in Asian cooking. It and soy sauce are great if you want to salt a dish and also add richness. Soy you have to be a little careful with because it has such a strong flavor. Next time you are making chili or a red sauce try it. It will give a richness to the dish.
1 large can petit diced
1/3 pound pancetta
3 tomatoes
½ red onion or 2 shallots
15 kalamatas
2 TBS fish sauce
1 TBS garlic
1 TBS Italian Seasoning
1 cup white wine (preferable not chardonnay)
1 pound pasta
Olive oil
2 tbs finely chopped fresh basil
This is easy to make but requires a few steps. It is also a dish I strongly suggest tasting before you add even a pinch of salt. Almost all the ingredients in themselves are salty. In fact, you could even forgot salting the tomatoes before drying them. I didn’t, but it wouldn’t hurt. Also if you like a little spice add some crushed red pepper.
Take the fresh tomatoes and slice, salt and pepper and drizzl with olive oil and put on baking sheets in the oven at 250 for about an hour. You don’t want them dried out and chewy, just the flavor concentrated. Set them aside
I like chunks of pancetta not slivers. So I went to the deli and got my pieces in inch slices and cubed them up. I then put them on a baking sheet in the oven and put them under the broiler for 3 minutes, stirred them and put back in for another two. I was just trying to crisp it up a little. Careful not to burn it. Set them aside.
The hard part is done. Cut up onions, add olive oil to pan and sauté on low for 5 minutes. Add wine, and cook until wine is reduced in half. Add pancetta, dried tomatoes (cut up), olives, can of tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning and fish sauce. Cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add basil, and stir to incorporate. Toss with pasta.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweet Thai Curry Spread

1 Brick Cream Cheese
¼ c. sour cream
¾ C. raisins
2tbs thai green curry paste

Let cream cheese stand at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Take raisins and either put in microwave covered with water and microwave for 3-5 minutes (until boiling) and let stand for 5 minutes, or cover with boiling water and let stand for 5 minutes. Drain raisins add to cream cheese. and sour cream. In making this I found not all curry pastes are the same. I used a different one that I typically do and it was FAR less hot. That said you might want to start with one tablespoon and keep tasting until you get the heat and flavor level you like. I am serving this as a spread for crackers tonight. I think though this would make a great sandwich spread. I also think fresh basil would be extra good, I just don’t have any right now!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Thai Chicken Empañadas

Finally someone contributed a recipe to share! This is my fathers (Bill Walkers) creation. I have not tried it but he said it came out great so I can't wait to try it. He also said that a spring roll wrapper would be a good substitute for the empanada dough (also an easier substitute).

Dipping Sauce:
2 T. brown sugar
4 T. lime juice
1 T. Thai red curry
½ cup peanut butter
½ cup water
¼ cup shallots, chopped
¼ cup soy sauce
2 T. fresh ginger, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
Chicken Filling:
½ cup water
2 T. brown sugar
4 T. fresh lime juice
1 T. Thai red curry paste
¼ t. red pepper flakes
1 T. fish sauce
½ t. salt
2 pounds chicken thighs, skinned
¼ cup green onions finely sliced
¼ cilantro, chopped
½ cup dipping sauce (below)
Empañ ada Dough:
2¼ cup all purpose flour
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
1 t. kosher salt
½ t. sugar
Egg Wash:

1/3 cup cold water
1 egg

1. Place all the Dipping Sauce ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. Put into bowl and set aside. Clean food processor bowl.
2. Pulse first 4 ingredients for the empañ ada dough together in food processor until crumbly.
3. Add water and egg and pulse until dough forms a ball. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill until needed 1 hour.
4. Preheat oven to 350. Place the first 8 Chicken Filling ingredients in a bowl and mix until it combines into a cooking sauce.
5. Place the cooking sauce and chicken in a medium oven-proof pot, cover, and bake until the meat falls from the bones (about 1½ hours).
6. Let chicken cool. Discard bones and sauce. Coarsely chop the meat, mix with the green onions, cilantro and Dipping Sauce and set aside. Save remaining sauce for dipping the empañ adas.
7. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out until it is thin, no more than 1/8” thick. Using a 4 inch diameter cookie cutter, (I used a large martini glass) cut dough into rounds. Set rounds on a cutting board and cover with a damp towel. Re-roll dough scraps and cut more rounds. Continue rolling and cutting until most of the dough has been used. I got 18 rounds, but my dough was a little thick. I think you should be able to get 20 rounds.
Assembly and Baking:
8. Preheat oven to 400. Put about a ½ T. of the chicken mixture in the center of a round. Fold the round in half and use a fork to seal the edges. Continue until all the rounds have been filled. I had about ¾ cup of filling left.
9. Transfer the empañ adas to a baking sheet. Thoroughly mix the egg and water. Brush the tops with the egg wash and bake until golden, about 30 minutes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Delux Ideas

Sometimes the best inspiration is letting someone else cook for you! Recently I went to Delux . For those of you in Richmond ,that is right across from Sticky Rice on Main. I went with some girlfriends for cocktails so I just got the scallops appetizer. The scallops where done, in truffle oil with pancetta. Forgetaboutit! I hate skimpy portions, so when they brought out just two scallops I thought, “Are you kidding me?!” However, this dish reminded me that something perfect and lovely is really best small. It was so wonderful. I am a huge fan of truffle. It really is on my top ten things that I want to take with me to my great reward. However, I am at a loss, often, for cooking ideas where I can use it. It needs delicate base so it can be the stand out flavor in a dish. Scallops where perfect, but nothing I had thought of before. So that one trip to Delux besides being SO MUCH FUN, gave me a whole host of new ideas. Reason enough for me to call the girls up again for a night out! Where to next time?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Limey Salmon

1 salmon filet
½ c. Lime sour cream recipe (under pork taco)

Smear salmon with sour cream and bake 350% for 20 minutes uncovered.
This I think would make a really good “taco” meat or of course good on a salad.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Curried Peas

2 c. frozen peas defrosted (don’t boil)
¼ c sour cream
1.5 TBS sweet curry powder
1 tsp lemon

Mixed together serve chilled.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

None of That Mushy Stuff Please

I am lucky because I love vegetables. Rutabaga, you bet! Brussels Sprouts, bring it on! Kohlrabi ..alrighty. Collards….not so much. However, I spent the vast majority of my life here in Richmond and so every encounter I had with a collard was... well… like a bad blind date…lifeless and I saw no potential. Then one day someone was talking about how much they loved collards. This is a person I was confident was not a mushy veggie eater. So, I asked how she cooked them, and a convert was born. If you have never had them, I suspect if you like wilted spinach or broccoli rabe you would like collards. They are far, far more course, which is one thing I adore about them. I think they are actually less bitter then wilted spinach. We are having them tonight with some leftover pork. I can’t wait.

1 Bunch of Collards
3 Heaping tablespoons a minced garlic
2 TBS Olive Oil
Dash of ground red pepper (optional, I like the wee kick)
Salt and pepper.

Okay collards can vary greatly. Some places you get them the greens will have NO grime in them and some places the greens are chocked full of grime/sand. To be sure, fill you sink with cool water, and soak them. Change water a couple of times. Honestly, I think the best source of collards is actually Food Lion. Once they are clean chop them up (I personally like mine sliced to form almost like a fettuccini noodle, but that is just my deal). I also like a good part of the stem, however, I would tell you if it is your first time using them, skip the stem. Heat ½ of olive oil and a couple of tablespoons of garlic. If you are making the whole bunch (as I do, they really cook down and are great leftover), you will not be able to get all into your pan. Fit what you can in there and loosely put a cover over you pan if you can, after a minute or so, stir and add more. Keep working in batches and once you have ¾ of the collards in the pan, put in the rest of the oil and garlic. Cook until all of the greens are wilted (some will be a bit more wilted, but again collards are so course they really can stand the longer cooking time). When they are done, really depends on you. Season to taste. You will be a convert.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A Nod to Kentucky Continued

Man! It turned out great. I do have to say, it isn't what my cousin made which was crazy good. I am now going to have to call her and find out what they did!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Nod to Kentucky

Tonight we are having the other half of the pork tenderloin used for the pork tacos. My cousin made a FABULOUS tenderloin when we were up there. In my mind this would be the recipe. I will tell you tomorrow if it works out.

1.5 lb pork tenderloin (plus or minus)
1 c balsamic vinegar
¼ c. oil
4-5 stalks of fresh rosemary
2 cloves of garlic quartered
Salt and pepper

Cut ½ inch slits into tenderloin, spaced evenly. Insert garlic in slit (clearly larger pieces of meat might need more garlic). In a large Ziploc, put vinegar and oil and ½ of the rosemary let tenderloin sit, 4 hours or longer. Pull tenderloin out, and salt and pepper meat, Lay remaining rosemary over length of tenderloin and secure with string. Grill, let stand 10-15 minutes prior to serving.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Why I Love Food

Well, honestly good food it just, well, good. However, food is a sharing experience. Growing up my parents used food as a way of teaching us about and respect for other cultures. It was a way of figuratively and quite literally showing what we all bring to the table. It is a way of exploring our many differences and fundamental sameness.
Think of your fondest memories, don’t most… if not all bring up thoughts of a food or drink you had? Whether it be wine with friends, or Holiday dinners with family. Maybe that hot coco on snowy days, or snow ice cream? That is what these pictures also represent. It is a remembering and sharing of a particular time. It reminds me of my trip to West Virginia with my friends. I see these pictures my friend Sallie drew while sitting around and I remember that drink in that glass (a gimlet I believe!) and the smell of her hot tea that she drank from a bowl. I remember how nice it was to sit with those women, and be. And talk uninterrupted by children. I remember the yummy truffle cheese we had. I remember the olives and the sought after salami that never made it!! And…. I remember those Doritos. Like I said before, it doesn’t have to be fancy… JUST GOOD!

Pork Taco

Tonight, I am going to break into that Rojo Seasoning of Penzeys. I am so excited. I am going to use a pork tenderloin. While the Rojo is righteous all on its own I recommend a lime sour cream sauce (and frankly corn not flour tortillas). Below is the recipe for the lime sour cream.

1 c sour cream
1 c. mayo (did I mention this was not a low calorie sauce)
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS lime zest
Mix and chill.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Love Affair Continues

Ahhh Penzeys! I finally, finally made it to their store in Carry Town. For those of you around Richmond, it is right next to Dogma. It is such a great store. As I have said, I have long been a fan of Penzeys, but it was a whole other world getting to go to the store. I felt like a kid in a candy store. It was such a sensory experience. On the inside everything is a bit brown paper bag plain, but I think that is so your whole being can go into experiencing the spices. I loved being able to pick up the sample jars and smell them. It totally got my idea juices flowing. I started making up recipes right there. Here are some of my favorite reasons to check out Penzeys:
#1 Chinese Cassia Cinnamon (literally, so sweet naturally it tastes like cinnamon sugar that is just light on the sugar)
#2 Rojo Taco Seasoning (Just no words, make a lime sour cream, and use corn tortillas--forgetaboutit!)
#3 Double Strength Vanilla (really, must I say more?)
#4 Cumin (hands down better than any cumin I have ever had)
#5 Powdered Lemon Peel (my new favorite, great summer flavor, try it with some onion, a can of chick peas, green pepper, chopped fresh basil and hard boiled egg, add a 1/4 tsp lemon powder, 1 TBS lemon juice, and 1/2 tbs olive oil. It is like a mouthfull of fresh!!)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

We Bring Out The Worst In Each Other

Okay, I typically tell you about my successes. However, I felt I should tell you about one woeful attempt I just had. At the market I got some wonderful, delicious super ripe raspberries. And in the fridge I had some wonderful soft, scrumptious goat cheese. I love, I mean LOVE LOVE a good sweet /savory pair. There is something in the Yin and Yang of it that just makes me happy. In my minds eye, the sweet ripe raspberries would pair great with the salty tangy cheese. Sure to be a next party success. I tried it. While it was a pretty combo, it was terrible. The raspberries accentuated the tart flavor of the goat cheese (and not in a good way). All the sweetness of the raspberry got lost. It was a sad, sad affair. I do not recommend it folks.
That said, tomorrow I am going to try a super ripe strawberry and maybe a little sliver of apple. I plug on!!.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Cellophane Salad

1 package of cellophane noodles or vermicelli
2 sliced carrots
1 sliced summer squash
½ sliced onion
½ bunch cilantro diced
1 can water chestnuts

1/3 c soy sauce
2 TBS sesame oil
Juice of one lime
Mix salad together toss with dressing and serve cold. This would be good with any vegetables you like, snow peas, cabbage, broccoli.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Summer Squash and Herbs

There is nothing like West Virginia cuisine. Really. It is so good, down home and hearty. I enjoyed my pork tenderloin biscuit in the mornings so very much. However, after a few days of biscuits and hot dogs this dish was long overdue.

2 squash
2 zucchini
½ large onion
4 mint leaves
2 TBS parsley
1 TBS oregano
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS rice wine vinegar
Sautee the onion, squash and zucchini in oil, just until done or still a bit firm. Let cool for about 10 minutes. Add herbs that have been chopped well. Add vinegar and let cool to room temperature. I am certain this would be good cool too.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Happy 4th

I hope everyone will have a happy 4th. Our family is going to our place in West Virginia. I am surely going to get inspired there and will come back with some new ideas. Enjoy your long weekend!

Cilantro Pork

2-3 lb pork tenderloin
4 c. Cilantro
1 c. nuts walnuts
½ c. parmesan
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1c. Olive oil
2 TBS lemon

Process cilantro, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, salt, pepper. Oil and lemon. Coat tenderloin with about ½ c of mixture. Bake 350 covered for 20minutes, uncover and finish (about 15-20 minutes more.) slice and serve with cilantro mixture drizzled on top. Freeze remaining mixture.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shrimp Pesto

4 c. basil
1 c. nuts (walnut or pine)
½ c. parmesan
5 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
1c. Olive oil
1 lbs pasta
½ c. feta
1 lb small shrimp peeled

Combine fist seven ingredients and process to make pesto and set aside. Put water on to boil. Once water is boiling throw in pasta. 1-2 minutes before pasta is done throw in shrimp (if shrimp already cooked, throw in 30 second prior just to warm). Drain pasta and shrimp and immediately put pesto on. You may have leftovers, depends on how much sauce you have, if you do see my first post for pesto spread under April. Add shrimp and feta and serve immediately.